Sacred Heart cannot sustain momentum; loses two in a row
OPELOUSAS -- What looked to be a classic finish to an ever important game in the race for the District 5-1A title, turned into a runaway contest as the Opelousas Catholic Vikings scored 21 points in the second half on their way to a 35-7 win over the Sacred Heart Trojans here Friday night.
With the loss, Sacred Heart fell to 4-2 on the year and 1-2 in district competition. The Trojans will host North Central this Friday night.
“The first half we executed the game plan exactly the way we wanted,” said Sacred Heart head coach Josh Harper. “We put in some new plays in our jet package and got them off balance. Then we went to the single wing offense and saw they could not stop us. We definitely controlled the clock in the first half.”
“We felt good going into halftime tied 7-7,” he continued. “But then we missed a call here and a check there and all of a sudden we are behind the chains. After they scored the next two times, things just began to snowball and we could never gain the momentum we had in the first half.”
As the game opened, it felt like it would be an offensive slug fest. Opelousas Catholic received the opening kick and brought it up their 46-yard line. The Trojan defense held firm the first two plays, but the Vikings were able to connect on a 19-yard pass play on third and four to keep the drive alive.
Three plays later, Opelousas Catholic faced a third-and-12 situation at the Sacred Heart 24-yard line. On the very next play, quarterback Zach Mengarelli found Cain Ludeau streaking down the seam for a touchdown strike. Drew Sebastian tacked on the extra point and with 8:54 left in the first quarter, the Vikings led 7-0.
The Trojans, not to be outdone, answered Opelousas Catholic on the ensuing possession. After getting the ball up to its 31-yard line on the kick off return, Sacred Heart went on one of their patented methodical drives.
Utilizing their running game, the Trojans began to pound the football right at the Vikings. Fourteen plays and a little over six minutes later, fullback Garrett Fontenot plunged over left guard for a four yard touchdown run. The extra point was good off of the foot of Alec Gotro and the score was tied 7-7 with 2:09 left in the opening period.
The Trojan defense forced Opelousas Catholic to punt on their next possession and got the ball at the 25-yard line to begin the next drive.
Sacred Heart, then in control of the trenches, continued to run the football right at the Viking defense. On play 15, the Trojans faced a fourth and five at the Opelousas Catholic 14-yard line.
Quarterback Wesley Launey fired a pass over the middle that was intended for Gotro, but the umpire was right in the line of sight and the ball fell incomplete, forcing Sacred Heart to turn the ball over on downs.
After an exchange of possessions that amounted to nothing, the two teams headed into the locker room with the score still knotted at 7-7.
Controversy ensued in the first part of the third quarter, ultimately leading to another Viking touchdown.
After the Trojans went three-and-out on their first drive of the second half, Opelousas Catholic took the ball in at the 20-yard line following the Sacred Heart punt.
On the first play of the series, a questionable pass interference call was made against the Trojans, giving the Vikings the ball on the 35-yard line. Three plays later Mengarelli slipped a screen pass to Kane Armand, who dashed away down the right sideline for a 35-yard touchdown reception. Sebastian was true on the point after and Opelousas Catholic now held a 14-7 lead with 7:38 left in the third quarter.
An errant pass led to the next Viking touchdown. On the ensuing drive, Launey overthrew his receiver and Opelousas Catholic’s Cale Cart was there to pick the ball out of the air at the Viking 41-yard line.
Opelousas Catholic did not take long to capitalize on the Trojan miscue, as five plays later Mengarelli bolted in from nine yards out to add to the Viking lead. Once again Sebastian was on the mark with the extra point and with 5:40 left in the third quarter, Opelousas Catholic had extended the lead to 21-7.
The Vikings added to their total on the first play of the fourth quarter. Once again it was the Opelousas Catholic defense that did the damage, as Armand stepped in front of a Launey pass and sprinted 60-yards down the sideline to pay dirt on the interception. With the extra point, the Vikings led 28-7.
The final score of the game came two minutes later when Mengarelli found Cart running down the seam for a 57-yard pitch and catch touchdown.